M4 Systems

Origins

Gary Clarke, one of the founders of the company, was a finance director of a 200 person company in Bedwas in the late 1990s. During this time, he selected and was involved with the implementation of the Dynamics ERP software into that organisation. He was very pleased with the software choice but not with the services received from the implementation partner. Gary quickly realised that whilst Dynamics was superb software, there was a lack of quality partners in the UK at that time that could assist with Dynamics implementations and provide adequate ongoing support. M4 was therefore founded with the aim of providing quality services to deliver solutions based upon Dynamics and to provide outstanding ongoing support. The major initial challenges were a lack of capital and selling sophisticated critical systems with a long sales cycle without any existing customer references

Success Factor

A number of factors have contributed to M4 Systems’ success, including (a) offering excellent support of a higher standard than most competitors; (b) the fact that the company knows and loves the technology and conveys this enthusiasm to customers and prospects (c) a wide variety of skills in a team which works very well together including accounting, software development, testing network engineers; and (d) taking a long term view by always striving to maintain a good relationship based upon fairness and doing what's best for the customer. The company has also a close relationship with Microsoft who have helped it tremendously and has been able to attract exceptional talent even when it was relatively small.

The Future

From 2001 to 2006, there was a recession in the IT industry following the dot.com bubble plus the Y2K hysteria and associated overspending in the 1990s on IT. This resulted in disillusionment in customers and the sector was then hit by the credit crunch in 2008 causing customers to delay large capital outlays. However, technology has continued its march on with rapid progress with Microsoft spend £6billion per annum on research and development. Therefore, the company is very optimistic that there is huge pent up demand for this technology and that there are many opportunities to provide services to help customers deploy these technologies such as fully integrated systems including CRM, ERP and Unified Communications